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09 AdvantageWest 2009 Annual Report


Focused 2009 on Serving Western North Carolina


AdvantageWest celebrates 15 years as one of the most progressive and diversified economic development commissions in the nation.

“In an effort to respond to the diverse economic development needs of North Carolina, then State Representative Martin Nesbitt introduced legislation creating the regional economic development partnerships. It was this extraordinary insight that allowed AdvantageWest to become one of the most innovative and nimble economic development programs in the state.” – Gordon S. Myers Founding Chair, AdvantageWest Board of Directors

marked the start of an organization 1994 designed to promote and advocate the creation of improved economic opportunity in the 23 western counties of North Carolina. NC Senator Martin Nesbitt, then a member of the House of Representatives, spearheaded the effort. The General Assembly provided funding and appointed a governing board of 19 leaders from across Western North Carolina. That nonprofit, public-private partnership, eventually called AdvantageWest, has earned a reputation as one of the most progressive and diversified economic development commissions in the nation. Over the past 15 years, we have strategically adapted and diversified our program of

“We had some tremendous visionaries at AdvantageWest who saw that it took a diversified approach to really build an economic strategy.” –Rick Webb First AdvantageWest CEO

work to meet the unique and changing needs of the region. Our innovative approach to economic development has set us apart among our peers. This annual report provides a glimpse at some of AdvantageWest’s activities and achievements since our start in 1994. It also presents an overview of our program of work going forward, focusing on advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurial development, agribusiness and AdvantageGreen. We look forward to continuing to serve Western North Carolina.

“The highly involved AdvantageWest Board of Directors has always done an excellent job with their fiduciary role as well as helping to shape and innovate a lot of the programs.” –Dale Carroll NC Deputy Secretary of Commerce and former AdvantageWest CEO

An innovative approach to economic development and the dedication of AdvantageWest’s board, staff, partners and supporters put Western North Carolina in the national spotlight. As AdvantageWest reflects on 15 years of serving the region, there’s much to be proud of, including national recognition for AdvantageWest’s innovative approach to economic development. From the US Department of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers to Georgia Tech Economic Development Institute and the Southern Economic Development Council, AdvantageWest has received numerous accolades and commendations for its work. Media outlets including Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek, Global Expansion Journal and the Huffington Post have also put AdvantageWest in the spotlight. In addition, the region and its business climate have been noted by Inc., Money Magazine, Forbes, Fortune Small Business, and, while Site Selection magazine has consistently ranked North Carolina No. 1 as the best state in the country to do business. The recognition AdvantageWest has received would not be possible without the tireless work and support of many individuals and organizations. On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to especially recognize Scott Hamilton, AdvantageWest’s president and CEO since January 2009, and Dale Carroll, who served in that role from 1997 to 2008. Scott, Dale, the AdvantageWest professional staff and my colleagues on the Board all deserve a debt of gratitude for their tremendous efforts. Their dedication has enabled AdvantageWest to serve the people of our region with excellence, innovation and great pride, focusing on the goal of helping Western North Carolina’s economy grow and flourish.

Tommy Jenkins Chairman of the Board

Our Region AdvantageWest is one of seven regional economic development partnerships in the state, serving the 23 western counties.

Our Mission AdvantageWest shall promote and advocate the creation of improved economic opportunity in our region, while encouraging stewardship of the culture, heritage and natural resources of Western North Carolina. Our Focus Advanced Manufacturing Entrepreneurial Development Agribusiness AdvantageGreen WNC Film Commission 12

15 years

Focused on Serving Western North Carolina for 15 years


Tax incentive passed in ‘09 designed to make filmmaking more affordable in NC


National site consultants AdvantageWest has had direct involvement with since ‘97



Provided to entrepreneurs through Advantage Opportunity Loan Fund since 2008


Entrepreneurial clients provided assistance through BREC in 2009


Entrepreneurial ventures provided bridge financing through Advantage Opportunity Loan Fund since 2008


million +

Provided in angel capital through Blue Ridge Angel Investors Network

$800,000 In the Advantage Opportunity Fund


million +

Leveraged through the AdvantageWest grants program since 1994 4


Jobs created in WNC 1996-2009


million +

Economic impact of film industry in WNC, 1996-2009

60,000 Employed in manufacturing in AdvantageWest region in 2008

$500,000 Green business grants received in WNC during 2009


Businesses “graduated� from Blue Ridge Food Ventures into their own facilities since 2005


million + Reported sales and services produced at Blue Ridge Food Ventures since 2005



Taxable investment (1996-2009/NC Dept. of Commerce)



Calculated value of publicity earned by AdvantageWest in 2009


Small businesses that have used Blue Ridge Food Ventures facility since 2005 4

15 years

Focused on Serving Western North Carolina for 15 years

“Google is proud to work with AdvantageWest in supporting the second Juicy Ideas competition. We’re eager to see what this year’s students create and look forward to the winning team’s presentation once again at Google headquarters. ” –Google

“Whether supporting entrepreneurs or big business, the team at AdvantageWest gets it. The breadth of this support is truly something that has provided confidence while navigating our business during these challenging times. ” –Thomas Dempsey President & Founder of Sylvan Sport mobile adventure gear

“I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the fine support we received from AdvantageWest for the new Henderson County facility. ” –Eberhard Flammer President of Elkamet, Inc. (shown at right)


“AdvantageWest has enabled ERC to not only extend its fiber optic network into rural WNC, but together we look for ways to expand the infrastructure that will bring about tomorrow’s jobs. AdvantageWest is a great regional partner and advocate. ” –Hunter Goosmann General Manager, ERC Broadband

“AdvantageWest and Blue Ridge Food Ventures enabled me to turn my idea for a business into a reality. You rock!” –Leslie Suber Owner, Sadie’s Caribbean Fish Cakes

“We are stronger together than we are as individuals. Regionalism is critically important for local developers as we work to improve the economy and quality of life for our citizens. AdvantageWest provides the means for us to think and act regionally. ” –Dr. Patricia Mitchell

“AdvantageWest is a critical resource to our business and the entire region, and helped introduce us to countless key organizations, both in the public and private sector. ” –Wesley Greene, President and Brian Summers, CEO of sgBlue, a WNC clean technology company

Chair/Local Developers Advisory Council and Ashe County Director of Economic Development 6


94 Program of work expands with the creation of WNC Film Commission, assisting with productions such as Warner Bros. feature, “My Fellow Americans,� shot in 31 WNC locations.

The matching grant program is created to enhance the competitiveness of the region thorough marketing and capacity-building. 7

Western North Carolina Regional Economic Development Commission becomes AdvantageWest Economic Development Group and strategically locates adjacent to the Asheville Regional Airport.

AdvantageWest places computers in each local economic development office across the region and provides Internet connections.




95 The Economic Development Information Network (EDIN), an information-rich database, is launched to assist in business development efforts.

The Certified Industrial Site (CIS) program, one of the first of its kind in the nation, is launched to provide local communities with a competitive advantage.


focus on

Advanced Manufacturing

Manufacturing remains vital to the AdvantageWest economy, with nearly 60,000 workers and an annual payroll of $2.1 billion.

Advanced manufacturing in Western North Carolina remains a vital component of the economy across the 23-county AdvantageWest region. Our commitment to recruiting and supporting industry is as strong as ever, with an emphasis on advanced manufacturing such as precision metalworking, optics, plastics technology, aerospace/aviation and advanced materials. Our goal is to market and promote the region to retain and create quality jobs.

“Our goal is to market and promote the region to retain and create quality jobs.” –Kyle Edney, Executive Vice President, AdvantageWest

MARC Custom Medical Products is the largest manufacturer of custom medical drapes in the US, with sales of $10 million in its first three years. It is a venture of the Marketing Association of Rehabilitation Centers, a nonprofit association of community rehabilitation programs across WNC that provide vocational rehabilitation and employment for individuals with and without disabilities.

“We created or retained 373 jobs and generated $10 million in new sales. It’s not likely we would have seen that success without AdvantageWest.” –Noel Watts, MARC Custom Medical Products

MARC launched the medical products initiative in 2006 with significant assistance from AdvantageWest, which included Economic Development Initiative (EDI) grants. The support has paid off: a Western Carolina University study of MARC and its 14 member consortium estimated the organization’s total economic impact in the region to be $60.7 million in 2008. The organization has created or retained 373 jobs and more are expected in 2010. According to MARC’s executive director, Noel Watts, AdvantageWest has been a “true partner” in the organization’s success: “We’d be nowhere near this successful without the tremendous support of AdvantageWest.” 8


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Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council A strong climate of innovation and entrepreneurship is vital to an overall healthy economy.

Entrepreneurship provides a strong foundation for economic growth. Risk-taking entrepreneurs are often those whose innovations drive the economy forward. Larger industries frequently consider the area’s entrepreneurial environment when choosing a location, acknowledging its positive impact. AdvantageWest was the first regional economic development organization to establish and invest resources into an entrepreneurial program. Created in 2002, the Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council (BREC), provides education, mentoring, networking, access to capital, and also has programs to help young people and even entire communities foster strong entrepreneurial environments. The US Small Business Administration has invested significantly in our programs–evidence of a collective belief that focusing on small business is a powerful part of a sustainable economy. “The present economic climate has created an increased interest in entrepreneurism. People are looking to reinvent themselves.” –Pam Lewis, Senior VP of Entrepreneurial Development at AdvantageWest

“I wouldn’t be where I am–more importantly, where I’m going–if not for AdvantageWest.” – Jason Scholder, Founder and CEO, Three Minute Egg, a company that manufactures fitness and yoga products


Jason Scholder, the Three Minute Egg. From startups with promising innovations to high-growth companies generating sales exceeding what one might expect of a “small” business, AdvantageWest has assisted scores of entrepreneurs. One is Jason Scholder, the inventor of an international fitness product used by yoga enthusiasts called the Three Minute Egg. After successfully participating in coaching, benchmarking and business development strategy through AdvantageWest and the Technology Commercialization Center, Scholder received bridge financing from our Advantage Opportunity Fund.


97 WNC Film Commission recruits and provides production assistance for several major motion pictures during this time period, with an economic impact in WNC of more than $17 million.

AdvantageWest works with employees of Champion International Paper in Haywood Co. on an employee buyout, saving 1,600 jobs.

AdvantageWest hosts first industrial site consultant familiarization event in the region.

AdvantageWest’s Certified Industrial Site program wins an Economic Development Achievement award from Business Facilities Magazine, which honors “the most innovative, effective and probusiness programs in the world�.




98 Regional infrastructure assessment of water and sewer needs is completed in collaboration with federal, state and local partners.

AdvantageWest partners with Biltmore Farms and the City of Asheville in the development of the Biltmore Park Technology Center.





AdvantageWest, along with the economic developers in Burke and Henderson counties, establish the Economic Developers Advisory Council (EDAC).


WNC Film Commission assists with production of feature films shot in the region: ‘28 Days,’ starring Sandra Bullock (Columbia Pictures) and ‘Hannibal,’ starring Anthony Hopkins (MGM and Universal Pictures).

Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council (BREC) is the first entrepreneurial program with funding and staffing established by a regional economic development organization.

Blue Ridge Angel Investors Network (BRAIN) is established as the first regional angel investors network in WNC, resulting in $10 million in angel capital financing for entrepreneurs.

The Future Industrial Parks master planning program is implemented to proactively identify and evaluate promising tracts of land.




MountainSouth USA, an international destination marketing initiative, is developed to showcase Western North Carolina and the Southern Highlands to foreign visitors.


focus on

Certified Entrepreneurial CommunitySM The first program of its type in the country helps communities create a culture of rich resources for entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Western North Carolina, where the rate of entrepreneurial startups is higher than the state average–which exceeds the national average. In 2007, following the successful efforts to cultivate and mentor individual entrepreneurs, AdvantageWest developed the Certified Entrepreneurial CommunitySM program, aiming to help entire communities foster a climate of entrepreneurism and ensure the existence of resources and infrastructure to help entrepreneurs thrive. The first program in the country to certify communities as “entrepreneur-ready,” the CEC initiative was presented twice before Congress and has since been recognized at the National Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education. “Our goal is that Cherokee will be recognized as a good place to come and start your business–a place that supports small-business owners and helps them grow.” –Hope Huskey, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians CEC Team

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. In 2009, four Western North Carolina counties and one nation– Transylvania, Watauga, Burke and Mitchell counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians–became Certified Entrepreneurial Communities, joining Haywood County, the first community to meet the rigorous standards for CEC certification, in 2008.

“This certification will show the Tribe’s commitment to making sure that we have and are providing the

Eight more communities are in the pipeline. Members of the Cherokee CEC team say the certification process and the assistance they got from AdvantageWest helped them focus their resources and goals.

resources for anyone who is interested in starting a business.”– Michell Hicks, Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief, shown right, with CEC team



focus on

Blue Ridge Food Ventures From farmers and food entrepreneurs to natural products manufacturers, agribusiness is growing in the AdvantageWest region.

When AdvantageWest launched Blue Ridge Food Ventures in 2005, few realized the impact it could have. It was the state’s first business incubator specifically for farmers and food entrepreneurs and the largest commercial kitchen of its type in the southeast. Developing the innovative program, however, was a big risk for AdvantageWest–only 20 percent of food incubators survive past three years. Blue Ridge Food Ventures has excelled beyond expectations: 142 small businesses have used the facility, with products sold across the country and nearly $3.5 million in reported sales and services. In 2009, BRFV launched Winter Sun Farms, a community-supported agriculture program enabling local farmers to increase their sales and consumers to enjoy local produce year round. As BRFV approaches its fifth successful year, it is expanding into natural products manufacturing and bottling. “Blue Ridge Food Ventures is all about homegrown businesses for farmers, food entrepreneurs and traditional herbalists in the Western North Carolina mountains.”–Mary Lou Surgi, Executive Director of Blue Ridge Food Ventures

“Using Blue Ridge Food Ventures, I was able to move quickly to get my award-winning product from testing to full production in just a year.” –Chef Ricardo Fernandez, with wife Suzanne


Chef Ricardo’s Tomato Sauce. Native Argentinean Chef Ricardo Fernandez and his wife Suzanne have owned Lomo Grill in Haywood County for 16 years. His tomato sauce using local ingredients has been a staple in the popular restaurant’s dishes. Today, Chef Ricardo’s Tomato Sauce is sold across the southeast, thanks in part to Blue Ridge Food Ventures, which helped Chef Ricardo with the steps necessary to get his product to market and provided a place for bottling and labeling. In 2009, the NC Specialty Foods Association named Chef Ricardo’s Tomato Sauce ‘Best New Product.’


03 An economic index for Western North Carolina is launched in partnership with Appalachian State University.

First life sciences wet-lab incubator is established in the region, designed to attract highgrowth business in the life sciences industry.

Carolina Connect, produced by BREC and BRAIN, is the first-ever venture capital conference in WNC and second largest in the state.



Western North Carolina is awarded Blue Ridge National Heritage Area designation by Congress, following efforts by AdvantageWest, HandMade in America and the Blue Ridge Heritage Initiative.

Blue Ridge Food Ventures is established as the first shared-use kitchen and food business incubator in the state and largest of its kind in the Southeast.


Grants awarded by AdvantageWest in the 1990s lead to the founding of BalsamWest FiberNet, an initiative to deploy 300 miles of underground fiber.




06 Blue Ridge Food Ventures hosts its first Marketplace to allow BRFV clients to showcase their products. BRFV also launches its Farm Outreach Program to help farmers develop value-added products to complement direct marketing of fresh produce.

Juicy Ideas collegiate entrepreneurship competition launches nationally with support from Google, with nearly 900 students participating. 15

The Technology Commercialization Center opens to evaluate promising business models, while the Advantage Opportunity Fund for entrepreneurs is established in collaboration with federal, state and local partners.

Certified Entrepreneurial CommunitySM program is launched, first in the country to certify communities as “ entrepreneur-ready.� Haywood Co. is the first to receive CEC certification.




07 Google opens a data center in Caldwell County; Vanir Energy plans for the world’s largest solar thermal installation in Henderson County.

AdvantageWest conducts four lean supply-chain seminars which are attended by 100-plus advanced manufacturers.


focus on


Supporting the economy by focusing on collaboration among green partners, programs and resources in the region.

Respect for the environment and a strong ethic of sustainability are part of our culture in WNC. So it was no surprise that in 2004, we identified environmental-related enterprises as an emerging cluster of innovation in our vision plan. In 2007 we launched the region-wide Advantage Green Innovation conference, focused on renewable energy and green building technologies. Following up to that event, we produced a video marketing WNC’s assets and strengths as a way to build the regional green economy. In 2009 our AdvantageGreen efforts expanded when we became the first regional economic development organization to establish a staff position focused on creating collaboration among green partners, programs and resources. We believe WNC is perfectly positioned to capitalize on the global green movement as a means to grow our economy. “There’s an abundance of resources and initiatives around the region related to the green economy. Working together we can develop strategies to leverage these assets.” –Matt Raker, Senior Director, AdvantageGreen & Grants Administration

“The potential of the AdvantageGreen initiative to capitalize on green technologies in the AdvantageWest region is huge. Doing so will promote the region as a great place to do business, live and visit.” – Dr. Rose Johnson, President of Haywood Community College

Haywood Community College is one of the many partners AdvantageWest is collaborating with to develop and implement green capacity-building opportunities across the 23-county region. Dr. Rose Johnson, president of HCC, was appointed by the NC Community College System to co-lead a project called “Code Green,” designed to position the system and its 53 colleges as leaders in the education, practice and demonstration of sustainability. She also signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, a pledge that includes incorporating sustainability into the curriculum. 16


focus on

Western North Carolina Film Commission More than a backdrop: WNC is film-friendly and business savvy, supporting development of the region’s creative economy.

For nearly a century filmmakers have chosen the AdvantageWest region for scores of projects, from feature films to music videos to TV spots. Robert Redford, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins, Robin Williams and Sandra Bullock are just a few of the celebrities who’ve spent time on a movie set in WNC. There’s more to movie-making than stargazing. That’s where the Western North Carolina Film Commission plays a critical role, including assistance with location scouting, on-the-ground logistics, and helping to ensure a successful production.

The economic impact of the film industry on Western North Carolina since 1994 is estimated to exceed $36.4 million.–NC Film Office

Mike Bigham, Location Scout. In 2009, efforts of the WNC Film Commission included helping longtime local industry professional Mike Bigham, who was hired by a California filmmaker as location scout for the independent feature film, ‘Road to Nowhere.’ Shot at various location in Haywood County including Boyd Mountain Cabins shown at left, the production brought a big economic boost to the region, from hiring locals–such as Bigham–to purchasing supplies, lodging and food.

“People were here from LA, Spain, Greece–they all fell in love with the area, and the production manager liked the ease of filming in Western North Carolina.” –Mike Bigham, Location Scout and Manager


The economic impact of filmmaking in the region is long lasting, says Bigham: “Chimney Rock is still benefiting from ‘Last of the Mohicans’–the impact goes on for years.”



National Juicy Ideas award winners from Appalachian State University travel to Google headquarters in California to present their winning idea and meet with Googlers.

AdvantageWest joins the Tennessee Valley Corridor to promote the area as a premier science and technology center.

‘Plants to People ’ film is produced featuring Bent Creek Institute and the potential for job creation related to the array of medicinal plants in the region.

Winter Sun Farms, the area’s first and only winter season CSA program, is launched by Blue Ridge Food Ventures; meanwhile BRFV’s 100th client goes into production.

First regional economic development organization to establish a position focused on identifying resources and collaborative efforts in support of the green economy.

Burke, Mitchell, Transylvania and Watauga counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians become Certified Entrepreneurial CommunitiesSM.

The Blue Ridge Food Ventures 3rd Annual Marketplace draws 300 attendees–the largest ever– including representatives from major grocery chains as well as the general public.

Blue Ridge Food Ventures undergoes significant expansion of storage and office space, renovation begins on manufacturing space for natural products.




focus on

Our Region Major Companies & Entities located in the AdvantageWest Region Google Baxter Healthcare Eaton GE Lighting Systems Continental Teves Arvin Meritor Nypro Borg Warner Turbo Systems GE Aviation Jacob Holm Industries Volvo Construction Equipment NA Headquarters Drake Enterprises Shaw Industries Snap-On Tools National Climatic Data Center

Our Region 10,0000 square miles Population: approximately 1 million citizens 1300 manufacturing firms - 17% of workforce More than 300 IT companies Entrepreneurship higher than state/national level - 17.5% workforce


Transportation Region is served by I-26 & I-40 with direct interstate access to I-85, I-77 and I-81 Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) served by Airtran, Continental, Delta, US Airways, and United with daily non-stop service to Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, LaGuardia, Newark, Orlando, Dallas and Tampa Greenville Spartanburg (GSP) and Charlotte-Douglas (CLT) International Airports within close proximity Rail service by Norfolk Southern and CSX Intermodal service to two deepwater ports

Community College System Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College Blue Ridge Community College Caldwell Community College Haywood Community College Isothermal Community College Mayland Community College McDowell Technical Community College Southwestern Community College Tri-County Community College Western Piedmont Community College Wilkes Community College Universities Appalachian State University University of North Carolina at Asheville Western Carolina University Private Colleges Brevard College Lees-McRae Mars Hill College Montreat College Warren Wilson College

Technical Infrastructure A high-capacity fiber optic network provides advanced technical infrastructure and interconnection opportunities throughout the AdvantageWest region. This network is comprised of a fully protected optical backbone with its primary Point of Presence in Asheville and partners with national carriers and regional and nonprofit providers.

The Next


“Western Carolina University has enjoyed a strong relationship with AdvantageWest from its beginning. Our degree and outreach programs very effectively complement the job creation initiatives of AdvantageWest. This type of collaboration is vital to the economic success of the region.” –Dr. John W. Bardo, Chancellor Western Carolina University


“Working with us on the development of the county’s economic development strategic plan and supporting our EDC, AdvantageWest provides insight, experience and leadership. They are a critical strategic partner with Macon County.” –Jack Horton, Macon County Manager It’s our heritage of unique peoples, plentiful natural resources, unmatched beautyand and biodiversity “Attracting, growing retaining that shapes our companies economy todayinshapes our shapesglobal our. economy a competitive

is more challenging than ever before. AdvantageWest helps get Western North Carolina on the radar screens of location consultants and companies, and that leads to new jobs and growth.” –Robert H. Pittman, Senior Principal Janus Economics 5

Reflecting on the past, focusing on the future. What would Western North Carolina be like if not for AdvantageWest? Have our efforts made a positive impact? Where should our focus be in response to the challenges and opportunities of a changing global economy? These are questions we posed when putting together this Annual Report and what we continue to ask ourselves every day as we strive to make a positive economic impact on the region. In reviewing our 15-year history, one thing became clear: AdvantageWest is a creative and innovative organization. Putting computers and Internet service in all the EDCs in the mid-90s was innovative and groundbreaking, as was the Certified Industrial Sites program. Our Certified Entrepreneurial CommunitySM program, the WNC Film Commission, the Juicy Ideas collegiate competition, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, and our commitment to exploring the green economy–these are just a few examples that demonstrate AdvantageWest’s positive impact in Western North Carolina. Throughout the years, we’ve adapted to changing circumstances, resulting in a reputation as one of the most enterprising and diversified economic development organizations in the country. In 2009, that ability to adapt enabled AdvantageWest to remain strong despite a tough economic year. With reduced funding, we are focusing our time, talent and resources on core areas that will retain and create quality jobs throughout the entire 23-county region: advanced manufacturing, entrepreneurial development, agribusiness and AdvantageGreen. AdvantageWest’s past accomplishments and future endeavors would not be possible without the energetic dedication of our board, staff, and our countless partners and supporters who have worked hard to help improve economic conditions in the region; for this I thank you. Your spirit of collaboration has made a positive impact on Western North Carolina, and will continue to do so as we move forward, charting a path for a new economy.

Scott T. Hamilton President & CEO


AdvantageWest Board of Directors

Tommy Jenkins Chairman

Wanda Proffitt Vice Chair

Mike Fulenwider 2nd Vice Chair

Tom Alexander Corporate Treasurer

Connie Haire Corporate Secretary

Randy Banks

George Couch

Mark Burrows

J. W. Davis

Henry H. Doss

Eugene Ellison

Larry Kernea

Reese Lasher

Peggy Melville

Elizabeth Miller

Gordon Myers

Sam Neill

Harris Prevost

Van Phillips

AdvantageWest Staff


Scott Hamilton President & CEO

Kyle Edney Executive Vice President

Pam Lewis Senior Vice President EntrepreneurialDevelopment

Kathy Neall Senior Vice President Finance & Grants

Justine Doerner Director IT Systems

Amanda Baranski Assistant Corporate Secretary

Karen Davis Accounting Associate

Alice Wilder-Lauff Administrative Professional

Matthew Raker Mary Lou Surgi Sr. Director, AdvantageGreen Executive Director & Grants Administration Blue Ridge Food Ventures

Kathi Petersen Communications Consultant

Board Updates In 2009 we welcomed two new members of our Board of Directors: Henry H. Doss of Ashe County and Larry Kernea of Cherokee County. The 19 members of the AdvantageWest board are appointed by the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House and the NC General Assembly.

Staff Updates • In January 2009, Scott Hamilton became the third President and CEO of AdvantageWest. • In July, one of AdvantageWest’s first employees, Pam Lewis, was promoted to Senior Vice President, Entrepreneurial Development. • In November, Matt Raker joined the staff in the newly created position of Senior Director, AdvantageGreen & Grants Administration. • In December, Kyle Edney joined our team as Executive Vice President.

Our Corporate Sponsors and Supporters AdvantageWest is grateful for these public and private partners for their support in 2009.

AdvantageWest serves the 23 western counties of North Carolina

Asheville Renaissance Hotels AT&T Biltmore Company Biltmore Farms Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corp. Blue Ridge Mountain EMC Carolina First Bank Community Foundation of WNC Dixon Hughes Duke Energy Economic Development Coalition -Asheville-Buncombe Co. Froehling & Robertson, Inc. Fulenwider Enterprises Google Greenlife Grocery Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa Hilton Asheville Biltmore Park Land-of-Sky Regional Council Meet the Geeks McGill Associates Mountain First Bank Murphy Electric Power Board PSNC Energy Parker, Poe, Adams & Bernstein, LLP Piedmont Natural Gas Progress Energy The NC Rural Center US Small Business Administration

Alleghany Ashe Avery Buncombe Burke Caldwell Cherokee Clay Graham Haywood Henderson Jackson

Macon Madison McDowell Mitchell Polk Rutherford Swain Transylvania Watauga Wilkes Yancey

Creative Direction, Design & Photography services provided by The Frontier Group Writing & Editing services provided by KP Communications

Located adjacent to the Asheville Regional Airport 134 Wright Brothers Way • Fletcher, NC 28732 828.687.7234 Made with 100% post consumer recycled fiber saves.... trees



solid waste

greenhouse gases

23 6,789lbs wood

8,584 gallons

16 million BTU

1102 pounds

2068 pounds

Environmental Benefits Statement AdvantageWest conserved these resources in the production of this Annual Report by using Neenah Environmental paper, composed of 100% post-consumer recycled fiber versus virgin fiber, and made with 100% renewable energy. EnvironmentÂŽpremium brand papers are made with 100% Green-e Certified renewable energy.

AdvantageWest 2009 Annual Report: Focusing on Western North Carolina for 15 Years  
AdvantageWest 2009 Annual Report: Focusing on Western North Carolina for 15 Years  

"Focusing on Western North Carolina for 15 Years", the 2009 Annual Report from the AdvantageWest Economic Development Group, covers key econ...